Weatherby is easily one of the most respected names in the firearms industry, particularly for their decades of rifle excellence. The legendary gunmaker has been dedicated to perfecting weapons craftsmanship since the 1940’s when Roy Weatherby first opened shop. Since then, the family business has consistently pushed the limits of precision, excellence, and firearm performance. While they updated their tactics and facilities, they have never underestimated the value of human experience and real-life data. Overall, few weapons manufacturers have impacted the rifle industry quite like Weatherby.
It’s hard to believe that Weatherby was run out of a small mom and pop sporting goods shop in California. While they are now a leading force in the firearms industry, Weatherby was once just a big idea in the head of a west coast inventor. Roy Weatherby began tinkering with ammo and ballistic data with the hopes of crafting a faster and flatter rifle cartridge.
By the end of his first year dedicated to innovating cartridges, Roy had already produced 3 revolutionary rounds. Roy eventually outgrew his business space and had to relocate to accommodate a testing facility for new rifle cartridges. However, he quickly realized that the standard rifle couldn’t handle his magnum loads and was forced to renovate the bolt-action action system.
Roy then developed the Mark V action and the bolt-action was never the same. He decided to create a bolt-action system that would last the test of time and boy did he succeed. By the time the 60’s rolled around, Weatherby had already invented several innovative cartridges, a small game hunting rifle, and then determined to work on the shotgun market. In fact, it was back in 1967 when Roy Weatherby wanted to redesign the hunting over/under shotgun.
Fast forward a few years to 1970 when Roy really transformed the firearms community. It was then that the weapons pioneer manufactured the Vanguard, the first Weatherby rifle designed to chamber non-Weatherby calibers. While it may seem inconsequential, this ultimately allowed all kinds of hunters to step up their game and still use their favorite rounds. To give the shooting community even more to write home about, Roy began marketing rifle scopes.
Although the previous decades were filled with manufacturing excellence and forward thinking, the 1980’s was a major transition period for the American gunmakers. After a short-lived attempt into the pistol market, Roy handed the reigns to his son Ed. Since then, they’ve has grown slowly but surely. While they didn’t quite fall off the face of the Earth, the Weatherby title became less of a household name. That’s not to say they stopped producing premium cartridges and long guns, but they did fall into a more niche community.
Weatherby began as a dream in the mind of a dreamer – A man with no special training or facilities, just a passion for guns and ballistics. That very sentiment has been passed down generations and continues to permeate the Weatherby brand. It just goes to show how important drive is to breeding success.
Weatherby was built with the purpose of perfecting hunting cartridges but they’ve done some pretty impressive stuff with rifle manufacturing. Though the Weatherby rifle collection consists primarily of two series, there are dozens and dozens of models to choose from. In fact, there are nearly 40 different Mark V models offered in a massive variety of calibers and finishes. You can also select from their many affordable Vanguard rifles.
Weatherby claims that the Vanguards are the fastest, flattest shooting rifles on the market. While it may seem incredulous, reviews and experience tend to back up that statement. The Vanguard rifles deliver tremendous firepower, insane accuracy, and an overall excellent shooting experience. Besides for sub-MOA accuracy (.99″ or less at 100 yards) and a great two-stage trigger, these rifles offer a surprisingly incredible Monte Carlo Griptonite Stock, 3-position safety, and integral recoil lug.
The Monte Carlo Griptonite stock may be synthetic but it is plenty durable. They crafted these with ergonomics in mind as evidenced by their non-slip grip, palm swell aids, and special pistol and forend inserts. Furthermore, they added a pretty solid low-density recoil pad that’ll come in handy with those heavy-hitting magnum cartridges.
Weatherby Mark V
Having taken down big game on two continents with a Mark V Deluxe, I can personally attest to the remarkable quality of the premier rifle series. As the world’s strongest bolt-action series, you can expect remarkable sub-MOA accuracy, a surprisingly extraordinary 54-degree bolt lift, and an intuitive trigger. In fact, the reinvented LXX trigger provides shooters with a wider, more comfortable trigger face and an adjustable, performance-enhancing pull.
While a 54-degree bolt lift may not sound like a big deal, it’s pretty outstanding when you consider the industry average is close to 90. In practice, this intuitive overhaul allows for faster chambering and follow-up shots. Additionally, the Mark V series is offered in either a magnum 9-lug or standard 6-lug action.
Like their rifles, Weatherby’s shotguns offer impeccable balance no matter your purpose. Though the collection is somewhat limited it’s by no means underwhelming. They’ve got over/unders, side-by-sides, pump actions, and semi-autos, each with a solid performance and gorgeous finish.
Weatherby SA 08
The elegant SA 08 is probably one of the softest shooting 12-gauge shotguns on the market. Furthermore, the upland-favorite shoots accurately and comfortably all while looking like a work of art. In addition to a select grade walnut stock, Weatherby incorporated a vented rib top, chrome lined bore, dual valve gas system, CNC-machined aircraft-grade aluminum receiver, and push-button safety. It’s quite simply a fantastic shotgun to own and an even better shotgun to shoot.
Weatherby PA 08
The Weatherby PA-08 may not be sold on their website anymore though that hasn’t stopped people from wanting to get their hands on one. The affordable pump-action scattergun is known for its user-friendliness but you can’t ignore its impressive durability. I’m a big fan of the waterfowler model with its Mothwing Marsh Mimicry camo pattern which can handle plenty of abuse without missing a beat. If you manage to get a hold of one of these, think twice before you give it up.
Roy Weatherby loved his 257 Magnum high-velocity cartridge that used it consistently for big game hunting and long-range varmint shooting. Weatherby now markets their popular round in several velocities, bullet energies, and trajectories. Do yourself a favor and check out the Norma Spitzer bullet in 100 grain and you won’t be disappointed.
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300 Weatherby Magnum
The 300 Weatherby Magnum cartridge is their most popular and versatile round and for good reason. Besides for being their flattest and fastest cartridge, the 300 magnum offers the longest range and greatest killing power. Overall, the big game round is worth the high price tag.
At the end of the day, Weatherby is a true staple of the firearms industry and has been since the 1940’s. Although they have taken a step back from the spotlight in recent years, their commitment to firearm excellence and innovation has never faltered. If you’re looking to beef up your hunting game, do yourself a favor and check out Weatherby.
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